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Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash
Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash
World News

'Our country is not for sale': Congolese bishops condemn exploitation and conflict

by Lydia Davies

Congolese bishops have issued a statement on the grave challenges facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) caused by internal armed conflict and external exploitation.

Delivered to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), their message implored national leaders to "stop running the country as if it was your private domain".

The bishops criticised the Congolese government for neglecting the population and the international community for exploiting the nation.

Highlighting the ongoing strife that has led to millions of deaths and displacements, they stated: "About 120 militias have been fighting over territory and natural resources in the DRC's eastern regions since 1996."

Detailing the violence and economic hardships faced, they condemned actions such as "the encirclement of the city of Goma by the M23 supported by Rwanda" and noted that insecurity "has become endemic with its trail of murders carried out in broad daylight".

Addressing the state of governance, they remarked: "When we hear our people speaking of the source of our interminable suffering, we conclude that all of this is happening because the Congolese state is dead."

They further demanded international respect for their sovereignty, echoing Pope Francis's plea: "The Democratic Republic of Congo is neither for sale nor to be lawlessly exploited."

Amid these trials, they hailed the courage of clergy members working in militia-dominated areas and acknowledged their role in upholding community interests.

"They are here to share in the suffering of the people," the senior clergyman added.  "It is in these moments of suffering that the Church wants to be the salt of the earth."

They concluded: "May we be able to rebuild our beautiful country through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, mother of the resurrected one, and queen of peace."

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